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UPDATED! This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2020-08-30
 Author: Greg  Strong and Hans L. Bodlaender. Inventor: Christian  Freeling. Grand Chess. (Updated!) Christian Freeling's popular large chess variant on 10 by 10 board. Rules and links. (10x10, Cells: 100) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-10-03 UTCGood ★★★★

In spite of what I see as the drawbacks of this variant (bishops clearly stronger than knights, marshalls able to be traded quickly if developed symmetrically, complex pawn promotion rules that I don't quite like), the game uses a square (rather than rectangular) board and there are no unprotected pawns in the setup, which are arguably improvements over Capablanca chess (although that game's setup allows for smothered and back rank mates, arguably good features to have). The fact that the rooks protect each other, so that there is no need for castling, is both a plus and a minus in my view (as is the fact the player's armies ranks have many empty squares in the setup - otherwise there could be 30 pieces per side, perhaps, as I tried in my own Sac Chess variant, which is a lot of pieces).

My tentative estimates for the piece values in this variant would be: P=1; N=3; B=3.5; R=5.5; C=7.5; M=9.5; Q=10 and the fighting value of the K=2.5 approximately (though naturally it cannot be traded). Note that I rate a N significantly lower on a 10x10 board than on a 8x8, 9x8 or 10x8 board (where I estimate N=3.5 in all cases) as the many extra excellent central squares available to a N on a 10x10 board are IMHO way more than offset by the rather large size of the board, which makes it harder for a N to cross from one side of the board to the opposite one. Also note that on the four board sizes I've mentioned, I've kept R=5.5 as a constant value, changing the value of a B as I felt appropriate for a particular board size(s), in relation to the value of a R.

John Davis wrote on 2015-03-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This is a favorite of mine for the rules and board size, more than being another Capablanca. I am making some sets to give away for Christmas. I am including extra pieces to be a variant basic kit. I will post my changes for my "Grand Chess and Beyond" on the respective pages of each game.

Tbuitendyk wrote on 2011-10-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I've been dabbling with Grand Chess for a few years, and offer my analysis
of the piece values 'the way I see it':

P -- 1
N -- 3
B -- 4 -- I add 1 to each vector piece given the longer vectors on 10x10
R -- 6
C -- 8 -- I also add 1 for the combined power effect, like Q = R + B + 1 in
classic chess
M -- 10
Q -- 11

I've used these values for every game of GC that I've ever played, and
they've never failed me yet when calculating exchanges.

The method is consistent and logical -- for example, the Marshal is 10
because M = (R + 1) + N + 1.  (1 is added to the R for the longer vectors
and another 1 is also added for the combined power effect.)


John Smith wrote on 2009-01-31 UTCPoor ★
Too large size, Rook connection, tired compounds and strange promotion rules make this a bad game.

Al Myers wrote on 2007-08-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Christian Freeling's game is potentially excellent, but I feel it would benefit from two tweaks:

1) The initial array for the white major pieces should be Cardinal-D2, Queen-E2, King-F2, and Marshall-G2. (Of course the black pieces should be rearranged accordingly.) This setup does have the potential disadvantage of having the KBP on both sides initially unguarded, but the capture of either pawn would take several tempi and might lead to some interesting gambit play.

2) The king should be allowed a once-a-game safety leap of three squares either to the right or left. this would be in essence castling without the rook and would be subject to the same rules as castling, i.e. no prior king move and no moving over squares attacked by the enemy.

In any event the foremost requirement of viability for any chess variant is that the winning percentage for white be no higher than that experienced in ordinary chess.

George Duke wrote on 2007-08-17 UTCPoor ★
We have panned Grand Chess several times elsewhere but never directly on its page. This game is a pitiful rerun for uncreative minds. If its date were 1800 or 1900, sure, there would be slight historical interest, thought not much in light of Carrera's, Turkish ones and all the others, but in 1980s it amounts to nothing. There are mediocre patents from 1970s with the same pieces that never reach this website. RN and BN are inherently inferior to RB, and medieval ingenuity made the right choice for the new Queen as full-stength RB(not one- or two-stepping) around 1496. Those prescient individuals from Italy and/or Spain presumably ignored out of hand BN, RN as weird, awkward, ineffectual exotics. Moreover, in all the Carrera derivatives, the individual Knights suffer overwhelmed by gross compounds. Grand's board acts overspacious and underutilized, largely because the misguided leaps to 100 squares increase over 50% the 1500-year 64-square standard and cannot cope. All this having been said before, the critique belongs here in the bowels of this loser. [Afterthought: Hey granted it is still a suitable game to build a player's rating at ridiculous one move a day with its straightforward standard moves]

Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-07-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The annoying promotion/pawn move rule is the only thing that prevents this game from being practically perfect. I'd suggest that pawns can move to the back rank even if they can't promote, and be allowed to move sideways along the back rank 1 square per move, capturing as they go. Reversals of direction would be allowed. I lean toward allowing a pawn to move, possibly capturing on the move, and then promote when the opportunity presents itself, as well as just promote in situ when a piece becomes available. In this scheme, promotion would not be required as soon as a piece became available.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-06-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
this game is a classic

Filip Rachunek wrote on 2005-10-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Play Christian Freeling's Grand Chess on BrainKing :-)

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2005-06-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Some people has critiziced the initial setup. Others think that the Pawns in third rank and majority of bigger pieces in second is not the best idea. I strongly disagree, this game is excellent, and much more: for me, it is one of the best decimal variants ever made. The measures: the beauty, deepness and interest of an average game. Superb.

Greg Strong wrote on 2005-03-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
A fantastic variant, and my favorite variant on a decimal board. I think placing the pawns on the third rank, rather than the second, is important for decimal variants to get the game moving and interesting before dozens of moves have past. Even giving second-rank pawns a triple-space initial move still doesn't seem to accomplish the this. Omega Chess games, for example, seem to take forever to develop to a level with noticeable tension. Grand Chess also allows pawns to promote on the 8th rank, as in Mecklenbeck Chess, and this provides additional tension without making the game so dynamic that it hard to visualize. Finally, giving the back rank to the Rooks reduces or eliminates the need for castling, and I consider this a very good thing, too.

sue potts wrote on 2005-01-01 UTCGood ★★★★

sue potts wrote on 2005-01-01 UTCGood ★★★★

Lim Ther Peng wrote on 2003-04-25 UTCGood ★★★★
This game is better than chess.Good work!

David Short wrote on 2003-02-24 UTCGood ★★★★
Grandchess is one of several chess variants which can be played by email through Richard's Play By Email Server at <p>I have organized tournaments of several other CVs on Richard's PBM server in the past, mainly Doublechess and Omegachess. I could easily organize and run a Grandchess email tournament on Richard's PBM site if I thought there was enough interest. Remember, you would need to have an existing userid on the server to play. If you do not have one, you can easily sign up for a free account. To find out how, go to the front page listed above and click on the TUTORIAL link near the bottom of the page. <p>Anyway, if you would like to see me run a Grandchess tournament on Richard's server please either post a message here in this chain or email me at [email protected] and if I sense there is a sufficient amount of interest I may very well do it. <p>

John Vehre wrote on 2003-01-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I have played in two Grand Chess competitions and can highly recommend
both the game and the organizers at who now have held three
cyber world championship events.  Grand Chess combines good ideas from
both east and west.  It is fast paced like classical chess and the long
range pieces have considerable striking power. The promotion rules and set
up remind one more of Shogi and these same promotion rules tend to reduce
the number of draws.  If you could reach such an endgame almost all basic
pawn up king and pawn vs. king endgames are wins unless the weaker side
can capture the pawn and even the notoriously tough Rook and pawn endings 
should also be easier for the stronger side. Of course saving a bad
position is much tougher!
   Classical chess playing skills also translate well in this variant and
a good chess player most likely also will quickly become a good Grand
Chess player. The mindsports site provides boards to play the game with on
their server and postal chess players tired of computer interference in
their games ought to give this variant serious consideration.
    The only criticism I have of the game is that perhaps a piece
arrangement more like Duninho's (spelling?) variation of Capablanca's
with the Cardinal on b2, the minor pieces Queen and King moved in towards
the center and with the Marshall placed on i2 might be a more efficient
piece arrangement.  I have also experimented at the Dayton Ohio Chess Club
with some friends with adding a king's leap of three squares which seems
to work well with this alternate piece arrangement.  Maybe an addition
that might be considered for the Zillions engine?

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2002-12-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Excellent game; unlike most other Chess variants there is actually some analysis of the game out there. Not only does <A href=>Abstract Games Magazine</A> have a regular column on it, but the current Grand Chess world champion has an annotated game (<A href=>Word format</A>; <A href=>PDF format with diagrams</A>) which discusses opening and mid-game strategy. <p> The game is a lot more sharp and tactical than FIDE Chess. Since the opening only has pieces on 40% of the board (as opposed to FIDE's 50%), it is harder to set up a closed position difficult to break in to. If you like playing quiet, strategic games, Grand Chess may not be for you. <p> Then again, if you long for another golden age of Chess, of the likes of when Morphy or Capablanca was world champion, this is an excellent game. Draws are less common in this game; stong attacks on the enemey king and sacrifices are common. <p> Of course, this is a game that computers can also play well; The Zillions engine was able to defeat an Interational Master (2500 range) at Grand Chess, even though the same engine is about a 1900 player in FIDE chess. Since very few people can defeat a strong computer these days, this should not matter for anyone except the strongest of players. <p> - Sam

nerd wrote on 2002-09-25 UTCPoor ★
All versions of chess are lame except for bughouse.

Anonymous wrote on 2001-01-02 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I'd rate both the site and the game as excellent, the site because the comments at the top prompted me to try the game, which has become my preferred form of chess. I haven't seen a zillions file for this; I wrote one myself which works fine except for the limited promotion rule -- given the current Zillions language, FIDE type promtion to any piece is easy, promotion restricted to previously captured pieces would be tedious to code.

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